Ministry of Education

Good news, PPTA announces new campaign for performance pay

The PPTA has launched a new campaign promoting performance pay for their members.

They have even provided a flash video to promote it.

You’ve got to love the hickey on the girl’s neck at 1:12.

But in all seriousness this is brilliant that the PPTA has finally realised that performance based pay for teachers is the way to go.

But there are a few problems. The major problem is that the PPTA and the Ministry are so intertwined – especially through IES – and the Minister is way too afraid of controversy, so no effective confrontation will take place and very little will change for the kids.

If the kids happen to be in largely non-confrontational Maori and Pasifika families – all the more chance that they will just be run over.

Real performance pay would mean that all schools get targets set – fairly – are bulk funded – and teachers who are effective get paid plenty. Those who don’t can go into consulting or lecturing or something else other than teaching.

But their tactic with this advert seems to be dumbing down the issue of teachers’ pay to the absolute maximum. Yet they still seem confused, getting the children in the video to produce graphs which actually seem to suggest teachers’ pay should be tied to student achievement. We are all for that surely…and nice to see the PPTA embracing it.   Read more »

Reader content: A QUIET review of Special Education

The Ministry of Education has announced a review of the provision of Special Education in New Zealand. Well “announced” is perhaps too stronger word.
Special Education provides support for numerous children in New Zealand with special educational needs. These children have a huge diversity of needs and issues. These issues can range from health issues to blindness to hearing loss to developmental issues to autism to dyslexia – the list goes on.
Provision of Special Education has always been a difficult issue. The range of needs is wide. The support needs are extremely individual. Historically the government has struggled to find a way to meet the range and the individuality.
In recent times organisations advocating in this field have been asking for a review. Minister Parata has obviously listened.
This all sounds well and good… until you try to find out about the review.

Read more »

Open Response to SST hit job by Alwyn Poole

I saw the Sunday Star-Times hit job this morning, on Mt Hobson Middle School by Simon Day.

It had all the signs of a pre-prepared hit job where the journalist has already pre-supposed the outcome and only seeks comment to try to ‘balance’ the article.

I contacted Alwyn Poole this morning offering a right of reply to the Sunday Star-Times that would be much more fulsome than anything that they would allow.

He has emailed his response.

 Mr Slater

Thank you for the invitation to respond to the Fairfax media article relating to the Villa Education Trust. I have to acknowledge that I won’t be reading the article but after interactions with reporter, Simon Day, during the week, I am aware that there would be two main thrusts – and a broader implication. Although I will not be reading it people who look after our interests no doubt will and I hope Mr Day has taken all care (he chose not to meet or come to the school to clarify his points). I will reply here only because the quality of Mr Day’s methods and questions left me in significant doubt that he would be accurate and/or fair.

The thrusts:

1) That Mt Hobson Middle School did not meet its obligations with a child that attended during term 1 of 2014.

2) That special needs funding was not fully used.

The implication – that because the Villa Education Trust runs Partnership Schools there could be a problem with that model.

On the specific student situation I will not comment on the child or the family. Clearly we consider we work very hard and skilfully with every student. In 2014 the family did question that through a formal channel and the school was found to have fully done exactly as they specified they would. This information was given to Mr Day – it was inconvenient for him so he ignored it.

On funding. I doubt that there is an organisation that works more closely with official bodies such as the Ministry of Education and ERO than the Villa Education Trust does. We take all care with systems and when in doubt, or when we get things wrong, we take full care to clarify and correct. We are an organisation that is audited financially and fully reviewed by the ERO. As a Charitable Trust and an organisation operating Partnership Schools – we take massive care. In this case we will pro-actively ask the Ministry to re-check if there is any legitimacy to the claim the parents appear to be making through the media – which conflict with written understandings we had with them. If any detail is found to be needing to be rectified that will happen immediately as would be our normal process.

Why the confidence?      Read more »

Rodney Hide on union fear and loathing of charter schools

Rodney Hide writes in the NBR about the fear and loathing of charters schools by doctrinaire unions.

On cue with last week’s column explaining why lefties are a miserable lot, the principal of Bruce McLaren Intermediate, Roy Lilley, hit the papers having a moan.

His gripe? Charter schools. His worry? That they will pinch his pupils with inducements of a free uniform and a policy of no donations. The new charter schools, he says, will have a “huge” and negative impact.

The newspaper reports Mr Lilley’s school having 416 spare places. The 2013 Education Review Office Report confirms the roll at 248. His school’s almost two-thirds empty.

Why isn’t Mr Lilly offering free uniforms? Why isn’t he having a “no donations” policy? Why isn’t he offering what students and parents want, so a charter school is no threat? Why isn’t he offering to rent his spare capacity to the new charter school and achieve synergy?

Why aren’t we laughing at him?

We would if he was the local supermarket whining about a rival opening up down the road. We would be laughing and looking forward to sharper prices, better service and higher quality produce.

Teachers, and their unions aren’t interested in any of that, they are interested in protecting their own hegemony of the system.

But schools are different. Here we have never known choice and competition. Our schools are run like the Soviet economy. The Ministry of Education is our Kremlin.

The Soviets were frightened: who would feed, clothe and house them if not the government? We are the same. We can’t imagine schooling in the absence of government direction and control.

Who would build the schools? Who would feed the teachers? Who would decide what is to be taught? And how?

Read more »

Every state house is a sacred state house?

Phil Twyford explaining why the derelict state house behind him should be kept for eternity.

Phil Twyford explaining why the derelict state house behind him should be kept for eternity.

At the moment the National led government is looking at selling some state houses.

You’d think the world and caved in on itself if you listened to the Labour party.

They are invoking asset sales because in their world if even a single house is sold that is an asset sale.

Presumably they will also be protesting about the Ministry of Education’s Surplus Property Disposal Incentive Scheme where schools are encouraged to “release surplus school property to the Ministry of Education for disposal through the Surplus Property Disposal Incentive Scheme (SPDIS).”

Surplus property is surely just another word for assets?

When you think about it the mere suggestion that because something is owned by the government it can never be sold, even when tried, worn out or simply in the wrong place for modern times.

Society changes as do our preferences and the way we live. But for some reason the Labour party thinks that we should forever remain stuck in the heydays of state housing in the 40s and 50s, with every citizen hankering after a state house.   Read more »

Is it Hekia or her officials who are deaf to concerns over funding for sign language?

Recently Hekia Parata announced a further $11m for NZ Sign Language over the next 4 years.

This is on top of $6m over four years previously announced in this years budget and existing funding.

In addition to around $1m this year that the MoE has re-prioritised into this same area.

Hekia’s announcement was interesting and illustrates that she has been taken for a ride by MoE officials and sector lobbyists.

In the most recent announcement, the press release says…

 “There are currently around 400 deaf children in New Zealand aged between 0 up to 5 years-old, and another 1400 aged between 5 and 18 years old.”

So reading this you think the money is for 1800 kids. $18m over four years for 1800 kids who probably have pretty high needs doesn’t seem too much. It’s about $2500 a year each.

But do these numbers really stack up?

The DomPost did a follow up article after a number of people questioned their cut and paste job of the minister’s press release.

It turns out that there are only 60-70 kids 0-18 who are reliant on sign language and another 200 who might use it regularly in support of their oral language.

Ministry of Education head of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said the figures were made up of children with moderate to profound hearing loss and drawn from the Deafness Notification Database 2010-2013, as well as quarterly reports of the country’s two deaf education centres to June 2014.

She confirmed that of the 1800 deaf children, only 60 to 70 were identified as reliant on sign language to access the curriculum.

About another 200 students in deaf education centres used sign language regularly. Read more »

Non-disclosure by Thrupp, NZEI and media peddling story on National Standards

The NZ Herald is today running a story that National Standards are appalling because schools are focussing on Reading , Writing and Arithmetic instead of lame subjects like art, social studies and basket weaving.

The report is from Martin Thrupp an avowed opponent of National Standards.

Primary and intermediate school teachers are being overworked and some subjects are prioritised at the expense of others, says a study into National Standards.

The latest report from the Research, Analysis and Insight into National Standards (Rains) project is released today. It analysed how six schools from around the country fared with National Standards.

Waikato University professor Martin Thrupp, who led the study, said worrying trends had popped up in schools since the standards for reading, writing and mathematics were implemented in 2010.

Those subjects had become the focus for some schools who wanted to make sure its students were meeting national levels. This meant subjects such as art, history, social studies and other activities had been left behind.

One school had begun a series of uninterrupted sessions in literacy and numeracy from 9am-11am every day.  Read more »

And she was registered

Labour and the Teacher unions all tell us that registered teachers are the best, provide protection for the kids and that is why they oppose charter schools.

Yet every week there is another registered teacher before the courts of the Teachers’ Council for some crime or another.

The licensee of a preschool childcare centre who overstated funding claims, resulting in overpayment by the Ministry of Education, is facing restrictions on her ability to undertake school managerial positions.

A decision from the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal said the woman was convicted in the district court in June 2012 on three related charges of taking, obtaining, or using a document for pecuniary advantage.  Read more »

PPTA bullying on Charter Schools

Th PPTA has extensive rules and policy papers about bullying in schools, and even on paper that talks about teachers being the new targets of bullies.

This paper refers to both bullying and harassment of teachers. The School Anti-Violence Toolkit, published by the union earlier this year, used the umbrella term “violence” to cover all forms of bullying and harassment, and preferred the term “harassment” when discussing behaviour directed at teachers by students. However, teachers themselves are increasingly using the term “bullying” to describe the targeted aggressive behaviour they experience from both students and adults in schools.

Which perfectly explains the PPTA’s own attitude towards charter schools.

Northland teachers have been banned by their union from any interaction with charter school staff, in a move a Whangarei charter school chief executive has described as “bully tactics”.

The Post-Primary Teachers Association has instructed members to deny charter school staff and management professional, sporting or cultural interactions or support.

Government-funded like state schools, charter schools are not operated by the Ministry of Education but by sponsors such as iwi, not-for-profit organisations, businesses or existing education providers.  Read more »

They will all be registered too

The Labour party and the teacher unions all vehemently oppose partnership schools. Their hatred is pathological and their arguments are irrational. Once of the arguments against Partnership schools is that there isn’t a requirement for all teacher to be registered.

Registration they say will protect the children. They say this despite a long line of registered teachers before the courts on all sorts of violence, sexual and dishonesty offences.

Then there is a Herald story which shows just how bad registered teachers really are:

A child bitten by her teacher, teachers smacking children and staff smoking near pupils were among almost 250 cases of abuse and neglect at early childhood education centres reported last year.

Information about the complaints to the Ministry of Education were released under the Official Information Act to child advocacy group ChildForum.

The group’s national director, Sarah Farquhar, called the results “horror stories” and raised concerns about how complaints were dealt with by the ministry. She felt there was a heavier focus on supporting early childhood education (ECE) services than complainants.  Read more »